The ailing cooperative sugar factory at Jampani continues to be a bitter pill to swallow for hundreds of employees and farmers even after four years of its closure due to accumulated losses.
It suffered more losses as farmers were forced to divert their produce to other factories because of the lockout and steep fall in sugar cane prices.
After three successive years of lockout (2008-09, 2009-10 and 2010-11) and a fourth year (2011-12) of truncated operations, the prospect of revival looks bleak as the government is yet to carve out a bailout package.
The bailout will pave way for paying salaries that have been pending since January 2011 and also fund for initiating operations.
In 2011-12, about 14,000 tonne of cane was crushed with a financial assistance of Rs five crore from the government, given overhauling and necessary repairs required to the factory.
That was the last time the factory was operated to some extent of its installed capacity.
R Sambasiva Rao, a permanent boiler attendant, demanded that the salaries should be paid immediately and employees absorbed into other factories if revival becomes impossible.
For obvious reasons, the government made no attempt to overcome the crisis and restart operations at the factory which is currently showing a total loss of Rs 20 crore.
The Jampani sugar factory was established in 1983 with a 1,50,000 tonne capacity and it has 74 permanent employees, 56 seasonal employees, and 145 NMR (Non-Muster Roll) workers apart from 150 casual labourers.
Long before this major upheaval, CREPS, a sister concern of M/s KCP Sugars, had made a vain bid to take over the factory in 2004-05.
This agreement of privatisation of the factory fell through due to a Supreme Court verdict that favoured employees and farmers.
The factory had since reverted to the cooperative sector with effect from January 1, 2005.
But it is still plagued by uncertainty due to the state government’s indifference for reviving the once profit-making factory.
The Sugars Workers’ Union president M Basivi Reddy said the government should take the responsibility.